Toyota Prius Luxury Test Drive Review
It was a fine Saturday morning, when I sent my beloved Toyota Vios to the Toyota Service Center in Prai for a major service (40,000KM). Indeed, my mileage has already reach 49,500KM+. I was told I would have to wait from 11am to 3pm. Gosh, that was a long waiting time. I’d brought my laptop to do my work and to kill time then I saw the Toyota Prius Luxury through the showroom’s glass.
Of course I had the urge to test drive it! I approached the counter to request for a Toyota Prius Luxury test drive. They appointed one young sales advisor guy to attend to me. As usual, they needed photostat my IC and license for the test drive unit insurance. Then we proceeded to the Toyota Prius Luxury test drive.
Upon entering the Toyota Prius Luxury, I was welcomed by seats that are furnished with luxury black leather seats. The front leather seats are equipped with heater functions too, though it may not be very useful in our country, Malaysia but it certainly is useful for the countries with winter to keep your butt warm during the chilling weather. The driver’s seat’s position was comfortable with minimal adjustment required for my size with height of 170cm. Stepping on the brake and pressing the push start button simultaneously started up the engine with minimal engine running sound. The engine start up noise is more quiet than my Toyota Vios but loses to the Honda Civic 1.8S. Even though the Toyota Prius Luxury is furnished with noise-absorbing and insulating materials but it failed to insulated the noise better than the Honda Civic 1.8S.
Based on the sales advisor, the Toyota Prius Luxury should have started up with the electric motor instead of the engine, but because the electric motor was less than 60% of full charge, the Toyota Prius Luxury will be started up by the engine instead, as programmed. Toyota Prius Luxury’s interior and the dashboard looks plain to me but the car was equipped with many high technology features!
What’s so high tech about the interior is there is no analogue gauge meter on the dashboard but filled with advanced Multi-Information Display that shows the battery charging information, temperatures, driving average speed, cruising range and many more. The display is integrated with steering control too which will keep the driving attention on the road. Toyota Prius Luxury comes with automatic air-conditioners that ensures the cabin stays comfortable at the selected temperature and has a pollen removal mode and clean air filter. The JBL audio system is integrated with 8-channel amplifiers and 8-speakers comes with a 6.1 Touch Screen Display compatible with USB, CD-player, AUX jack, bluetooth and reverse camera. One other fantastic feature of this Toyota Prius Luxury is the Head-Up Display (HUD). HUD able to display the speed of the car and as Hybrid System Indicator.
What really grabbed my attention was the cute gear knob, the Electronic Shift Lever, which enabled us to shift the gear effortlessly. There are only 4 different gears to choose from, which are Reverse, Neutral, Drive and B. The gear knob automatically bounces back to center point after shifting to the desired gear.
With all the above features I mentioned about the interior, I feel more like driving a spaceship instead of a car! LOL, thanks to the car which is packed with so many great features! Oh ya, the handbrake is beside the brake pedal which is released and pressed with left foot! The sales advisor told me that the rear mirror (Electro Chromic Mirror) will automatically dim to reduce the glare for the driver. Toyota Prius Luxury ensures long distance driving is relaxing as it even has cruise control.
Now, we are ready to drive around the city. This sales advisor is good, he allowed me to drive further so that I can really test the Toyota Prius Luxury. He allowed me to drive from Toyota SC, Prai until Seberang Jaya Highway before making a turning back to Toyota SC. With the gear knob shifted to Drive mode, the car moved effortlessly powered by the engine mode. The ratio of the accelerator is just perfect, it is not too sensitive yet does not required a strong foot step to control the pedal according to my desired speed.
Toyota Prius Luxury is packed with a 1.8 litre 2ZR-FXE engine that produces a maximum output of 73kW/5,200 rpm and a maximum torque of 142Nm (14.5kg-m)/4,000 rpm working together with a High Torque Electric Motor that produces maximum output of 60kW and maximum torque of 207Nm (21.1kg-m) that satisfies those who lust for power while driving. Travelling on the North-South Highway to Seberang Jaya, I managed to floor the accelerator pedal, the car’s engine immediately roared and down-shifted the gear to provide the car a boost of acceleration which easily allowed me to overtake any car on the road for that moment. If you ask me how the acceleration is like, I can tell based on my other test drive car stories, the momentum of the acceleration is similar to Honda Civic 1.8S but still far away from Peugeot 408 Turbo. The acceleration is far more than sufficient to move the C-segment car.
While cruising on the highway, I tried the PWR mode and ECO mode but not EV mode due to EV mode requiring battery more than 65% charged. The battery had yet to charge to that state while I was driving. Both PWR mode and ECO mode do really give significant performance to the Toyota Prius Luxury. Acceleration with PWR mode, that allows higher RPM revving is so much powerful than ECO mode which limits the RPM from getting too high. Handling of the car is not bad too, Toyota Prius Luxury is equipped with MacPherson Strut with Stabiliser Bar for Front Suspension and Torsion Beam for Rear Suspension. Driving through potholes and uneven road doesn’t give much impact and vibration to the car. In fact, I feel the car is much comfortable than the Honda Civic 1.8S as it is less rigid in suspension tuning.
Toyota Prius Luxury is using Hybrid Synergy Drive that is lightweight ECB (Electronically Controlled Brake System) to provide optimum braking force. At the same time, it also enables highly efficient energy regeneration when the electric motor is not in use. Another thing Toyota Prius Luxury outweighs Honda Insight 1.3L and Honda Civic Hybrid 1.5L is air-conditioner performance during idling. In Honda hybrid cars, both Honda Insight 1.3L and Honda Civic Hybrid 1.5L, the air-conditioner compressor circuit is cut off as the engine shuts down which effects the air-conditioner performance in the cabin, thus producing hotter air from the cabin vent blower. This does not happen in a Toyota Prius Luxury, the air vent was still blowing comfortable chilling air during idling at traffic lights even though the engine had shut down in between. Bingo to this Toyota Prius Luxury.
Out of so many good things about Toyota Prius Luxury, there is a bad thing on the steering weight. I noticed it just as I was reaching back at the Toyota SC with slower speed (< 40km/h), the steering weigh ratio seem incorrect. The steering is heavy when I making turning out of sudden. The steering weight ratio may not be so precise according to the speed but is working great on the high speed.
Toyota Prius Luxury comes with other great features such as stylish and auto-levelling projector headlamps, daylight running LED, auto rain sensor wipers, FM diversity antenna, and reverse camera. Toyota Prius Luxury come with unwavering safety with 7 SRS airbags, Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Vehicle Stability Control(VSC), Traction Control, Brake Assist and Electronically Controlled Braking- Regeneration.
Overall, Toyota Prius Luxury is a great hybrid and value for money car with price of RM 145,515.30. It comes with many great and safety features and it is stylish from exterior even though interior may quite dull. If possible, I would like to own it someday. Oh ya before I forget, the sales advisor who brought me for test drive is Gideon, with hp# 016-5577672. Those who are interested to go for a test drive in UMW Toyota Motor Sdn. Bhd, Prai, Penang can contact him. I am sure he will be able to answers most of your queries regarding Toyota vehicles.
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